Total exports for Saudi Arabia reached SR652 billion this year, with the kingdom's oil exports reaching SR580 billion, according to Ibrahim Al Assaf, Saudi Arabia's Finance Minister.
Assaf made the comments on Monday on Saudi television after announcing the national budget for 2006, with projected expenditures at SR335 billion and revenues at SR390 billion, the largest in the country's history due surging crude oil prices. The country is expected to post a record budget surplus of SR214 billion in 2005.
Assaf also referred to the Kingdom’s diversification drive and its positive results, saying, “Non-oil exports in 2005 reached SR69 billion, registering a 20 percent increase,” according to Arab News.
Saudi Arabia’s current account was projected to record a surplus in 2005, SR326.5 billion, compared to SR194.7 billion in 2004, reflecting a 67.7 percent increase.
According to the Finance Ministry, revenues by the end of 2005 will reach SR555 billion while net expenditure will be SR341 billion.
Huge revenues have allowed the Saudi government to decrease public debt to SR475 billion or 40 percent of GDP.
Assaf added that some SR141 billion of the budget surplus in 2005 would be spent on paying down debt.
“In 2006 debt will continue to be a priority,” he said, adding, “But we have to be vigilant on inflation, given the large growth in government and private sector spending.”